One Planet Living: Day 8: 2017
Spent the afternoon in the garden. There is one spot in our front garden that looks into our neighbours so decided to buy a couple of new screening plants. The rest of the yard is surrounded by a camelia hedge which looks great and provides lots of shelter from the wind. But I really wanted to do something productive. So was super excited when I found some "Incredible Edibles" tea plants.
Tea is part of the camelia family with shiny dark green leaves and small white flowers that can be grown in a hedge. So boom - fits in and productive. Plus I think having a tea hedge between you and you neighbour just sounds lovely! Perfect for sharing.
Tea originated in Southern China about 4,000 years ago and was first introduced to the western world about 3,000 years ago. It can be used to create a hedge of up to 2 metres and will provide endless cups of tea for friends and family.
Harvest the first 2 leaves and the bud [new growth], dry the leaves for 17 hours in the shade. The air must be able to circulate around the leaves. Your leaves are ready when they are squeezed into a ball and stay in a ball. Put the dried leaves through a meat mincer or finely chop and crush so the leaves are bruised and the flavour is released. Spread on a tray 25mm thick and leave for a hour, turn and leave for another hour. Using an old fan heater with a steel mesh frame above, heat the frame, place your leaves on the frame and turn occasionally until dry, aim for the bought tea affect. Store in a air tight container (not plastic) away from light, moisture and heat. Loose tea should have a shelf life of two years. 5-6 year old plant will yield about 1 kilo of leaves which will produce 200 grams of dry tea. Source: Incredible Edibles
I also planted 4 basil plants in with my tomatoes and a second tamarillo tree. I love eating both - but had a bit of a disaster with these. The first lot of basil I planted this year the snails completely ate and my last tamarillo got frosted twice and died. Second time lucky - will need to make sure I put out frost cloth this time. Have been stomping and throwing snails to the birds so think the snail infestation is almost under control.
Will be another year at least before we have any tea but looking forward to it!
My name is Carolyn Cox, I'm the Director of Green Businesss HQ.
I help businesses develop sustainability strategies, action plans and provide sustainability advice for businesses, industry sectors, education providers, and communities.
I am passionate about my family, sustainability, gardening, my bike, good food, movies, and doing stuff that is good for the planet.